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How I fixed my rusty Christmas tree stand

Geez, I’ve started this sentence over like five times and it still feels awkward.

Tree lights reflected in a wood floor.


This is the Christmas tree stand that soon-to-be-ex and I purchased the first Christmas after we got married.

1997 Christmas tree stand box.

It’s a Wal-Mart purchase, circa 1997, and I can remember thinking even back then that this picture looked out of date!

vintage Christmas ad.

Anyway, it’s been in use every Christmas since then.

Oh, wait. Not the year we did Lisey’s Cookie Monster tree! That was a fake tree (obviously. It’s blue!) and it didn’t need the stand.

How to make a Cookie Monster Christmas tree

Anyway. For years now, the red finish on the original Christmas tree stand has been wearing off, and the metal underneath has been rusting.

rusty tree stand.

And for years now, I have been meaning to fix the rust issue. But the problem is, it really needed to be spray-painted, and it’s never good weather for spray painting around Christmas!

So I kept putting it away and forgetting about it until the next Christmas.


On the advice of my dad, I bought a rust-removing jelly product.

rust dissolver.

I brushed all the loose rust bits off.

And then it took a couple of applications of the rust jelly to get the majority of the rust off.

brushing rust remover on.

Christmas tree stand.

I had to use some paint thinner to get the built-up pine sap off, and then I hand sanded to get the last bits of rust off.

sanded Christmas tree stand.

I showed it to my dad and he said, “Yep, you can go ahead and paint that!”

I started by spraying it with a rust-stop primer from Rustoleum.

primer on tree stand.

And then I grabbed two red cans of spray paint from a bin that I’d gotten on the Buy Nothing group.

two cans of red spray paint.

(Remember when I used some of that paint to rehab my mailbox flag?)

The gloss red pepper turned out to be too orange of a color, so I went with the farm implement can. I figure if it’s tough enough for farm implements, it will probably be fine for a tree stand. 😉

sprayed red metal stand.

I did a bunch of thin coats, and I’m pleased to say the stand is looking quite refreshed now.

painted tree stand.

It has some scars, but I really do not care. The main point of this was to preserve the metal so that the stand doesn’t rust through.

pitted painted red metal.

I cleaned the sap off of the green ring.

green tree ring.

And I cleaned up the green legs too, but I did not bother painting them.

green tree legs.

For one thing, I didn’t have any free green paint, and for another thing, this part of the stand doesn’t have to hold water.

So I’m really not worried about these pieces rusting.

I put everything neatly into the box, and now it’s all set for next year.

tree stand in box.

I know I could just go buy a new tree stand, but I really wanted to fix this one because it’s definitely sturdier than some of the newer tree stands that I’ve seen.



And the can of rust remover and rust primer were definitely cheaper than a new tree stand would have been anyway.

So, I feel good about this project, especially because I happened to have free spray paint.

God bless the Buy Nothing group! 🙂

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Molly H

Sunday 23rd of April 2023

I love your commitment to fixing items! I do the same with most things. I’m curious, is it hard continuing to use items from your many years of marriage? I’m such a sentimental person about items. I would think that with some things I would be fine, but others would have too painful or too lovely (and therefore painful) memories attached.


Wednesday 5th of April 2023

Hey, Kristen! Those legs still have exposed metal, which will rust in normal atmospheric humidity, so I’d also spray them with at least some oil, WD40, or a clear lacquer, just to provide a barrier to moisture.

Hawaii Planner

Thursday 30th of March 2023

Looks fantastic, and I love reading about how you repair & fix things. You are much more creative in that way than I am, and it's inspiring!


Wednesday 29th of March 2023

I just love projects like this - so satisfying. And lately whenever I do one, I think to myself "future Gina is really going to appreciate you!". Then future Gina does. (:


Thursday 30th of March 2023

Exactly! Christmas 2023 Kristen will appreciate the current Kristen.


Wednesday 29th of March 2023

Also, I feel like the picture of that tree box is a sociology dissertation catalyst if ever I saw one...

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